Essays, essays, essays. The bane of so many people’s lives. With a whole host of different components to consider and coherently string together in your piece, there is a large margin for error – some of these mistakes could land you in a whole world of trouble. In this article, we are going to explore what to try and avoid when writing your essays.
This is a big one. Maybe you’re under pressure and think just copying and pasting a few lines from a website online will speed up the process. Think again. If your work is not original, the chances are you will get caught and there could be dire consequences. Make sure you use a plagiarism checker from Scribbr to ensure your work isn’t going to flag up any issues and leave you in a sticky situation.
Spelling and punctuation
Of course, this is an obvious one but it is one that many people overlook. This can have a huge impact on how your piece reads, and the overall mark you receive. Make sure you use a thorough spell checker and read over your work carefully. Read it aloud to help you to try and spot any mistakes. Then a day or so after you have completed it, read it again. After you’ve made your changes and you are satisfied, ask a reliable friend or family member to have a skim through it too. Diligence is key and we don’t always spot our own mistakes.
When it comes to formatting, you must lay your essay out in a certain way. This can be the text (in a clear, readable font, ordinarily size 12 in black ink), the paper (A4) and the overall order of your essay. This is something many people forget when concentrating on the actual content. Of course, it is important what your essay says but the appearance and order of your essay of equal value.
Remember to start off with an introduction, then clearly paragraph your main points, finishing with a conclusion and references (if applicable). Of course, this can vary from essay to essay but these are the general rules of essay writing, if your tutor wants it done another way, they should state it when assigning you the task.
Your introduction should clearly set out what the rest of the essay is going to address, your paragraphs should nicely flow and your conclusion should succinctly reiterate the points that you have made throughout, answering the original question. Make sure that you don’t go off on a tangent throughout – ask yourself, ‘is this relevant to the essay title?’
Planning is what is going to help you to ensure you don’t miss any important points, and it also allows you to order and structure your piece before properly getting stuck in. It can be handy to get references and research aligned in your plan so that you then have something to work from and bulk out. Get to know your essay subject more before you start tapping on your keyboard, slightly confused about what it is you’re trying to convey. Planning is essential!